With both Green Bay and Detroit fighting for a postseason berth, the clash between northern adversaries is our WhatIfSports.com Game of the Week.
Not that there is ever a "good time" to play the Packers, per say, but facing the Cheeseheads coming off their bye week would not be a deemed a desirable occasion. One of the more battered squads in the NFL (Green Bay even lost tackle Bryan Bulaga for the season during the hiatus), the break provided a much-need respite for the reigning NFC North champs.
However, as the Green and Yellow had won their past four contests by an average margin of almost two touchdowns, perhaps the bye was the only thing able to stop the high-octane offense of Aaron Rodgers and company.
And "high-octane" could not be more apropos, as the Packers have scored at least 27 points in five of their last six ballgames.
Rodgers is the piston that makes this engine roar, as his surgeon-like precision has kept the offense running despite a plethora of injuries to Greg Jennings, Cedric Benson, Jordy Nelson and multiple pieces on the offensive line.
After a somewhat shaky start in September (which can be attributed to the cornerback-mugging environment facilitated by the replacement referees), Rodgers has been lights-out, tossing 22 touchdowns in his last six games.
Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning certainly possess sagacious understandings of their offensive schemes, Matt Ryan is posting video-game like numbers for Atlanta and Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III have excelled in their inaugural seasons, but it's hard to argue that Rodgers is not the paramount of the position in 2012.
The Lions flaunt a fairly successful signal caller as well in Matthew Stafford.
Coming off a quantum-leap campaign in 2011 (5,038 yards, 41 touchdowns), the former No. 1 pick has taken a slight step back this year. Though he's still averaging over 300 yards per game (his 302.4 average is good for fourth-best in the NFL), Stafford owns a mediocre 11-8 touchdown-to-interception ratio through nine outings.
If Detroit holds playoff aspirations with their 4-5 record, Stafford will need to be the catalyst for an offense averaging a middle-of-the-pack 24 points per contest.
Not that the passing game is the only Motor City component in need of a tune up, though.
The Detroit secondary has surrendered 14 scores with just five interceptions. The front seven hasn't been much better, allowing 4.4 yards per carry, third-highest in the NFC. Together, this duo deficiency has correlated to a concession of 24.7 points per game, third-most in the conference.
Given the unit is littered with stars in Ndamukong Suh, Cliff Avril, Stephen Tulloch and Kyle Vanden Bosch, the Lions have been more bark than bite.
So who emerges victories in this NFC North slugfest?
According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com simulation engine, the Packers come out on top 54.3 percent of the time by an average margin of 27-25.
For the rest of this week's scores, check below:
|NFL Week 11|
|@ Houston Texans||91.8||29||Jaguars" target="_blank">Simulate Game|
|@ New England Patriots||71.8||27||Colts" target="_blank">Simulate Game|
|@ Atlanta Falcons||68.9||24||Cardinals" target="_blank">Simulate Game|
|@ Washington Redskins||62.8||19||Redskins&vSeason=2012&vTeam=Philadelphia+Eagles" target="_blank">Simulate Game|
|San Diego Chargers||39.7||23||Boxscore|
|@ Denver Broncos||60.3||27||Chargers" target="_blank">Simulate Game|
|@ Dallas Cowboys||59.1||27||Cowboys&vSeason=2012&vTeam=Cleveland+Browns" target="_blank">Simulate Game|
|New York Jets||46.7||21||Boxscore|
|@ St. Louis Rams||53.3||22||Rams&vSeason=2012&vTeam=New+York+Jets" target="_blank">Simulate Game|
|@ Buffalo Bills||46.3||21||Dolphins" target="_blank">Simulate Game|
|@ San Francisco 49ers||46.3||21||49ers&vSeason=2012&vTeam=Chicago+Bears" target="_blank">Simulate Game|
|Green Bay Packers||54.3||27||Boxscore|
|@ Detroit Lions||45.7||25||Simulate Game|
|@ Pittsburgh Steelers||35.1||19||Steelers&vSeason=2012&vTeam=Baltimore+Ravens" target="_blank">Simulate Game|
|New Orleans Saints||68.9||33||Boxscore|
|@ Oakland Raiders||31.1||26||Saints" target="_blank">Simulate Game|
|@ Kansas City Chiefs||31.5||20||Chiefs&vSeason=2012&vTeam=Cincinnati+Bengals" target="_blank">Simulate Game|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||71.2||26||Boxscore|
|@ Carolina Panthers||28.8||19||Panthers&vSeason=2012&vTeam=Tampa+Bay+Buccaneers" target="_blank">Simulate Game|
Each Tuesday, WhatIfSports.com's NFL simulation engine will provide you with predictions, box scores and statistics for every NFL game that week.
The NFL simulation engine generates detailed information including the home team's chances of winning (Home Win %), average score and comprehensive box score link. If you want to share your new found NFL knowledge with friends and family, make sure to check out our NFL Widgets on the WhatIf To Go page or click on the social networking share bar located at the top and bottom of the article.
The statistical inputs to the thousands of NFL games simulated are based on rigorous analysis of each team's roster, depth chart and statistically based player ranking. Roster modifications have been made for injuries and suspensions and those players are not part of their team's game simulation.
To account for injuries and roster moves announced late in the week, we will be re-simulating some games on Thursdays throughout the 2012 NFL season.
Check out our 2012 NFL Season-to-Date page to follow our accuracy week-to-week and find Locks and Upsets of the Week.
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